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Mohamed bin Zayed: U.A.E. will remain a staunch supporter for Arab brothers

posted on 22/07/2014

The U.A.E., under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will remain a staunch supporter for Arab brothers, based on the longstanding and deeply embedded approach initiated by the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, has affirmed.

'President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is keen to cherish and promote Sheikh Zayed's legacy of standing beside sisterly countries, making every effort to alleviate their suffering and backing their drive to serve their interest, as well as supporting humanitarian issues across the world,' His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said as he received members of the Coordination Office of U.A.E.-funded Development Projects in Egypt led by Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State, who paid a courtesy visit to extend Ramadan greetings.

In the presence of a group of stakeholders, supporters and media representatives, Sheikh Mohamed and his guests exchanged greetings on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan, praying to Allah to return it with further progress, glory and prosperity for the U.A.E. leadership and people.

Sheikh Mohamed said that he appreciated the relentless efforts the team had made in cooperation with the Egyptian government to launch and implement a package of inclusive development initiatives that support Egyptian citizens by concentrating on vital sectors like energy, housing, education, healthcare, infrastructure and utilities as well as economic aid.

'The U.A.E. will remain at the forefront of countries supporting Arab brothers and will not hesitate to play any active role in supporting them, alleviating their suffering and enabling them to face the heavy burdens they endure in a way that enhances their stability and brings goodness to them,' the Crown Prince said.

'We will stay on this course because standing with our brothers means standing with ourselves.' Sheikh Mohamed was briefed by the team on the progress of work of the coordination office which oversees U.A.E.-funded projects in Egypt. H.H. has instructed the team to put on more effort to expedite delivery of these projects, ensuring swiftness and efficiency in implementation so as to generate better economic and social benefits for Egyptians.

Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Chairman of the Coordination Office of U.A.E.-funded Development Projects in Egypt, expressed the team's profound thanks and gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for their support, instructions and follow up, saying, "Without which we could not have made this tangible progress in this mission. We will pursue our mandate guided by Sheikh Mohamed's instructions which have made a good impression on the team and which have provided them with a catalyst and enthusiasm to continue the work and deliver the hoped for results.'

The team included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the Higher National Security Council, the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation, Emirates Red Crescent, the Federal Authority of Electricity and Water, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority, Abu Dhabi Finance Department, Secretariat-General of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Emirates Liquefied Natural Gas Co., Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, International Petroleum Investment Co., Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Mubadala Development Co., Mubadala Petroleum, Masdar, and Al Dhahera Agricultural Co..

Media representatives in attendance included those from the National Media Council, Emirates News Agency (WAM), Arabic dailies; Al Ittihad, Al Bayan, Al Khaleej, Emarat Al Youm, Al Roya, and Al Watan, and both Abu Dhabi TV and Dubai TV.

– Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry heads down under to build on growing Australian links

posted on 22/07/2014

Abu Dhabi's tourism industry is heading for Australia later this month for a three-destination road show aimed at capitalising on growing awareness in, and business from, Down Under.

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) said it is leading a nine-strong industry delegation, including Etihad Airways, DMCs, hoteliers, tour operators and Yas Island, will be in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from July 29-31, training retail travel agents and MICE consultants on the latest destination offerings. TCA Abu Dhabi is also planning to host a mega familiarisation trip to Abu Dhabi for key Australian travel agents and professionals in October.

The road show comes just weeks after Etihad Airways', the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, sealed a five-year sponsorship deal with leading Australian football team Melbourne City FC and follows the airline's July 15th launch of daily services from Perth to Abu Dhabi.

"Our timing could not be better," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions and Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi. "Etihad's new sponsorship deal and the new Perth flights will bring increasing focus on Abu Dhabi and we need to capitalise on this.

"We anticipate meeting around 350 agents and consultants from both the leisure and MICE segments including key influencers from Australia's top retail travel chains and wholesalers and tour operators who currently contract Arabian Peninsula products." The road show comes as more Australians than ever check into Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments. In the first five months of this year some 16,952 Australians stayed in the emirate's hotels – an 8% rise on the same period last year. In all the Australians delivered 62,187 guest nights – a 15% year-on-year upswing and stayed, on average, 3.67 nights – which is up 7% on last year.

Yet industry-wide, Abu Dhabi's tourism stakeholders believe much more can be achieved from the Australian market, particularly from the visiting friends and relative and stop-over trade.

Abu Dhabi's entertainment destination of Yas Island says Australia represents a significant and developing share of its business.

"Yas Island is very keen to build on both the existing stop-over market and the point-to-point market from Australia," said Clive Dwyer, Director, Yas Island Destination Management. "We are capitalising on our convenient location for long-haul travellers, whether they are seeking a memorable short break, or are here for a long stay to indulge in our unique destination offerings. We're also planning to further tap into the visiting friends and relatives market from Australia as well as point-to-point for those looking to conduct inspiring, unconventional business events." "The significance of the Australian market to Abu Dhabi as a whole is also evident in a number of partnerships including Etihad Airway's link with Virgin Australia and its major sponsorship of the Etihad Stadium Melbourne Australia, Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Sydney Opera House." Australia is now the top room night producer for Etihad's destination management company Hala Abu Dhabi which has tailored specific stopover products for the Australian market and is to launch additional market-relevant initiatives. These include adding 24 hour hotel check in and out and a B2C booking engine on to facilitate stopover bookings.

"The Australian market is still fair new for us and we will focus this year and next on increasing business from both its leisure and MICE segments," said Fahim Zaman, Director of Sales & Marketing. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


U.A.E. tops MENA in innovation index

posted on 22/07/2014

The U.A.E. has been ranked first among the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries in terms of performance in the 2014 Global Innovation Index, according to a report published by Cornell University, Insead and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The Global Innovation Index 2014 launch conference, which was hosted by du also revealed that out of 143 countries, Switzerland remains at the top position globally for innovation, and the U.A.E. is in 36th place. The event was attended by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs.

Commenting on the new ranking, Al Gergawi said, " Arab world in general and the U.A.E. in particular historically constitute a hub for innovation," noting that the U.A.E. has been founded on the principles of innovation, creativity and knowledge". He cited the launch of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the U.A.E. Space Agency, being the first Arab and Islamic project with the aim to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021.

He said that U.A.E. leadership has from the beginning invested in nurturing human capital that is capable of achieving such ambitions, adding that the U.A.E. is also characterised by its high ability to build an environment that encourages creativity and innovation, and attracts talent. "It also has plans to transform the government into a smart government, and to transform our cities into innovative, human-friendly smart cities." For his part, Osman Sultan, CEO, du, commented, "With a visionary leadership and continued investments in education, fostering avenues of growth and development, it is not surprising that the U.A.E. leads region in key innovation parameters. The continued progression of the U.A.E. in the GII rankings is proof positive of national efforts to bolster innovation-driven sustainable growth." He noted that there are three areas in which the country has demonstrated significant growth: Human Capital and Research, Infrastructure, and Country Institutions, which are the key pillars to fostering a connected society. Investing in these areas will empower business acumen and facilitate a knowledge-based economy, powered by connectivity." Sultan added that it is not surprising that the U.A.E. leads the region in key innovation parameters, the continued progression of the U.A.E. in the GII rankings is proof positive of national efforts to bolster innovation-driven sustainable growth. There are three areas in which the country has demonstrated significant growth: human capital and research, infrastructure, and country institutions, which are the key pillars to fostering a connected society. Speaking at the launch, about why the U.A.E. is at these positions, Professor Bruno Lanvin, executive director, INSEAD Competitiveness Index said, "The nature of innovation has to be rooted in each country not from anywhere else. All the things which this part of the world is famous for such as mathematics, algebra and astronomy need to be revived as these things don't just go away on a whim. The fact that infrastructure is so well developed here shows that this part of the world has a number of things to share in innovation however the internet is still a place where less than 2 per cent of content is in Arabic, this should not be the case. We need more Arabic text, Arabic books and Arabic poetry on the internet." GII 2014 surveys 143 economies around the world, using 81 indicators to gauge both their innovation capabilities and measurable results. Published annually since 2007, the GII is now a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policymakers and others seek insight into the state of innovation around the world. Switzerland, the UK and Sweden topped this year's index, while Sub-Saharan Africa posted significant regional improvement in the annual rankings. The U.A.E. was ranked 36th globally this year compared to 38 last year. Speaking at the launch, about why the U.A.E. is at these positions, Professor Bruno Lanvin, executive director, INSEAD Competitiveness Index said: "The nature of innovation has to be rooted in each country not from anywhere else. All the things which this part of the world is famous for such as mathematics, algebra and astronomy need to be revived as these things don't just go away on a whim. The fact that infrastructure is so well developed here shows that this part of the world has a number of things to share in innovation however the internet is still a place where less than 2 per cent of content is in Arabic, this should not be the case. We need more Arabic text, Arabic books and Arabic poetry on the internet." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Abu Dhabi International Airport boosts services for the summer season

posted on 22/07/2014

Abu Dhabi International Airport has geared up for a huge spike in passenger numbers during the summer season through providing a series of facility developments and service upgrades.

The Abu Dhabi Airports company has said that a range of recently completed ground improvements and new services at the capital's main air gateway are expected to offer a smooth and enjoyable passage through main passenger terminals at the airport.

The number of travellers to the city are set to soar to record levels, and as a result, the airport will provide service developments which include, 20 new boarding bus gates (now fully open) to passengers and flights in Terminal 3, increasing the airport's flight capacity by 44%, with a total of 66 boarding gates, install six new code E aircraft stands for wide-bodied aircrafts, which will increase the airport's aircraft handling capability by 10%, with a total of 63 stands.

The airport also announced that Terminal 3 - the building dedicated to home air carrier Etihad Airways flights - has been fitted with16 new x-ray machines to speed up the security process for transfer passengers. An enhanced and expanded baggage transfer system has also been introduced for handling transfer luggage between connecting flights, which will be able to handle more luggage, faster and more efficiently through increasing the handling capacity by 40%.

Companies and agencies working at the airport have also increased their manpower in ground services, check-in services, passport control and Police, in preparation for the summer season.

Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, "As we look ahead to welcome a record number of passengers using Abu Dhabi International Airport as their connecting hub or destination airport, the number of flights we will handle during the peak travel months will leap by 18 per cent to nearly 170 every single day of the week compared to last summer. We've made great improvements all around the airport to ensure that all passengers, whether arriving, departing or transferring, will have a great start to their holiday journey." The airport's developments for this summer are part of the Capacity Enhancement Programme, CEP, for Abu Dhabi International Airport. The CEP will lift the capacity ceiling at Abu Dhabi International Airport to 18 million passengers a year. This will be boosted by a further 30 million passengers when the Midfield Terminal opens in 2017. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mall of the World to put Dubai retail ‘20 years ahead’

posted on 22/07/2014

The mega-project that will include 100 hotels, wellness, cultural and theatre districts is the world's first temperature-controlled city capable of receiving 180 million visitors a year.

The shopping and retail industries of the U.A.E. are set to be 20 years ahead of the region with Dubai's launch of the Mall of the World in the run-up to Expo 2020, the CEO of a leading general trading company based in the U.A.E. says.

Midhat M. Abu Ghazaleh, chief executive officer of Abughazaleh Trading Company, a major wholesale distributor and manufacturer, said: "Dubai was 10 years ahead of other regional markets as far as shopping and retail are concerned. In 1996, the emirate set itself apart from the region with the launch of the Dubai Shopping Festival, which created a dramatic upswing in the U.A.E. retail sector. Now, with the announcement of Mall of the World, the scale and magnitude have been expanded, which will surely take Dubai 20 years ahead of the regional market.”

He added: "This new mega-project that will include 100 hotels, wellness, cultural and theatre districts is the world's first temperature-controlled city capable of receiving 180 million visitors a year. This speaks volumes for the vision of Dubai and no risk management expert will advise international retail brands against setting up presence in the emirate as Dubai government is investing heavily to take the shopping and retail sector to a totally new level.”

The emirate's investment drive into the shopping industry has been relentless since Al Ghurair Centre was launched in Deira many years ago, to be followed by bigger and better world-class malls over the years.

He added: "With the current portfolio of malls and brands setting up presence here, Dubai was always ahead of the market. Now it has even moved up further and set a higher benchmark for others in the region.” – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=uaebusiness

Dubai Canal ‘will bring economic prosperity and well-being to the city'

Billboard posters have appeared by the side of Sheikh Zayed Road, thrilling motorists with a glimpse of what the creek extension will look like when it crosses Dubai. – The National – Read more:


Dubai Canal ‘will bring economic prosperity and well-being to the city’

posted on 22/07/2014

Billboard posters have appeared by the side of Sheikh Zayed Road, thrilling motorists with a glimpse of what the creek extension will look like when it crosses Dubai.

However, one group in particular that have given the plans a nod of approval are practitioners of the ancient science of Feng Shui.

The canal will cost Dh1.76 billion and will extend the creek across the city and connect it to the Arabian Gulf. It is expected to be ready in 2016, according to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Aside from the purely aesthetic impact, practitioners of Feng Shui believe the development could impact the flow of "chi” in the city.

Samita Khanna, a master consultant at Feng Shui Arabia, said water was considered auspicious in the ancient science of geomancy.

"Building a canal that links the sea to the creek and welcomes in the seawater into the city is equal to channelling good energy into Dubai,” said Ms Khanna.

"Water, being a vital life force for well-being and wealth, is always beneficial if treated with respect. Water is related to trade and the accumulation of wealth.

"Connecting the seawater through the Dubai Canal to Business Bay and letting it flow across the centre will not only create a beautiful chi flow, but also generate a thriving economy.”

An ancient Chinese practice, Feng Shui is over 3,500 years old, and was originally used to reorient buildings such as tombs or temples to ensure a harmonious relationship with nature.

It was suppressed in the 1950s during China's cultural revolution, but it underwent a renaissance over the past 20 years, with businessmen such as Donald Trump utilising its principles in major property developments.

The US typhoon's latest Dubai development, Trump Estates, will utilise a very similar, Indian form of geomancy, called vastu, in its design of villas.

Vastu shares many things in common with Feng Shui, the primary one being a recognition of the importance of water as a facilitator for economic growth, said Padmaja Yadav, a Dubai-based vastu consultant.

"The creek on the north-east of Dubai has always been the strength of the city, in terms of vastu,” she said.

"In terms of history, it's around the creek that businesses have thrived, and the city has grown. It is the presence of the water element in the north-east of Dubai that gives it a positive thread.

"Ideally the water flow is always from west to east and from south to north. I've not seen the exact plans, but, from what I understand, it's coming from the north-west to the south-east. So, since it travels from west to east, that is very good.”

She said the consequences of getting something like this wrong in terms of a city plan would involve "financial losses, a lack of stability or a bad reputation”.

The Dubai Canal was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, in October last year.

The first phase, which began this year, involves building a 16-lane flyover on Sheikh Zayed Road, under which the canal will flow. The second phase features six-lane bridges on Al Wasl and Jumeirah roads.

The third and final phase will involve the actual digging of the canal from the end of the creek, which will pass across Sheikh Zayed Road, through Safa Park, and will flow into the Arabian Gulf near Jumeirah Beach Park.

Ms Khanna said both the Arabian Gulf and the creek were "auspicious” bodies of water. "It is the sea and creek that have put Dubai on the world map, as the fastest growing metropolis on Earth,” she said.

"Therefore Feng Shui-wise, to create another extension of the creek is a stroke of farsighted genius.” – The National – Read more:


Dubai Chamber report highlights growing popularity of Islamic finance

posted on 22/07/2014

A report issued by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, based on a recent study by Ernst and Young, says that global Islamic banking assets have registered cumulative annual growth rate of about 16 percent during the period 2008-2012, reflecting the radical shift from a conventional financial system in favour of Islamic finance.

The report was issued within the framework of the preparations for the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) to be organised in Dubai by Dubai Chamber and the WIEF Foundation from 28th-30th October, 2014.

As the emphasis on low risk product alternatives kept the sector insulated from the financial meltdown, Islamic banking products and services have consistently gained market share in recent times, growing up to 50 percent faster than the traditional banking sector in some markets.

The U.A.E. is emerging as a serious player in this sector, with total Islamic banking assets growing to about US$95 billion in 2013 compared to US$83 billion in 2012. This momentum is unlikely to lose steam as the Dubai Chamber report shows that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for Islamic banking assets in the U.A.E. is expected to be about 17 percent over the period 2013-2018.

"The report by Dubai Chamber shows that the prospects of Islamic banking are very promising as indicated by the significantly high growth rates of Islamic banking total assets," said Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, adding, "The research note supports Dubai's recognition of Islamic finance as a key pillar in the strategy to position itself as the centre for Islamic banking and finance as part of the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative." "Dubai has the potential to shape the course of the massive Islamic economy, and this is reflected in the choice of Dubai as the venue for the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF). The Forum comes as a unique opportunity for Dubai to give a new direction to the Islamic finance industry, and help consolidate efforts, share knowledge and experiences to leverage the emerging opportunities in the changing dynamics of the global economy," Buamim said.

Dubai Chamber estimates that there are 38 million Islamic banking customers around the world, with two thirds of them in Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, U.A.E. and Turkey (QISMUT). Among these six prominent Islamic finance countries, Saudi Arabia is the biggest market in terms of Islamic banking assets, with an estimated value of about US$285 billion in 2013 compared to US$245 billion in 2012.

Research shows that Saudi Arabia represents about 43 percent of the total Islamic banking assets in all the six countries. It also accounts for about 53 percent of Saudi Arabia's total domestic banking assets.

According to the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report, 2013–14, while one-fifth of the banking system assets across QISMUT have transitioned to Islamic banking, in Saudi Arabia, supply push has seen share of Islamic banking cross 50 percent of system assets.

In 2012, the group of QISMUT was the fastest growing market for Islamic banking, with total Islamic banking assets commanded reaching about US$567 billion, and has registered CAGR of about 16.4 percent over the period 2008-2012, according to Dubai Chamber.

The Dubai Chamber research also shows that, globally, the Islamic banking profit pool is projected to reach US$30.5 billion by 2018, driven mainly by higher retail focus. In 2012, QISMUT Islamic banking profit pool was estimated at US$9.4 billion and it is expected to reach US$26.4 billion by 2018.

The Dubai Chamber report, however, points out that many Islamic retail banks suffer from lower profitability than conventional banks, mainly due to higher expenses attributed to complex products, lengthy process steps and more interfaces. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Environmental research projects given go-ahead

posted on 22/07/2014

Innovations in recycling, waste management and water purification are to be given the go-ahead this autumn at Sharjah's Gulf Ecosystem Research Centre.

Founded in 2012, the centre was created through a collaboration between Bee'ah, a waste management company, and the American University of Sharjah (AUS), with the company granting Dh30 million over five years to support scientific research that could bring immediate improvements in the way waste is managed as well as other environmental issues.

"This is an example of how industry and academia can develop a strong partnership to benefit the environment and society,” said Meera Taryam, director of environmental services and education at Bee'ah.

The centre would fill data gaps in the field of environmental research, said Ms Taryam, who added that the funding would be used to benefit projects that could have immediate practical applications, although work to answer broader scientific questions might be supported later.

The collaboration is under the patronage of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council member, Ruler of Sharjah and president of the university.

About 13 bids for research were received after the centre's first call for proposals opened in spring this year, said Ms Taryam.

She said that the research centre's advisory board was likely to give final approval to selected proposals at the start of the new academic year in September. The advisory board is made up of six members representing Bee'ah and AUS.

Dr Nabil Jabbar, director of the Gulf Ecosystem Research Centre and a professor of chemical engineering at the university, said recycling, water treatment and air pollution control would be the main issues for the centre.

Among the projects under review is research into the treatment of water containing oily residues left over by industry. Another will look at developing concrete from recycled construction and demolition waste aggregate.

"These projects are important in terms of waste treatment and also finding an end product that can minimise the use of raw materials,” said Dr Jabbar.

The faculty involved in the projects had already received initial feedback, related to the scientific merits and the timelines and budgets of the works, and some of the projects have been augmented, he said. "We hope that by autumn 2014 we will be able to kick off these projects.”

While the university funds faculty research, the new centre would allow for more focused work on environmental issues, said Dr Jabbar.

"We have this done already in the university, but now our centre is taking on research that is directly targeting the environment,” he said.

Bee'ah was established in 2007 with the support of the Sharjah government in a move to improve waste management in the emirate.

Since its formation, the company has organised emirate-wide recycling schemes. It has facilities to process construction and demolition waste, old tyres and, since February, scrap cars.

The company is working on building a waste-to-energy facility where rubbish collected from Sharjah that could not be recycled will be burnt, with the heat collected used to produce power.

The U.A.E. has one of the highest rates of waste generation in the world.

Figures from 2010 compiled by the Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi show that residents in that emirate produced between 1.8 and 2.4 kilograms of waste per day – almost half of that produced in the United Kingdom in the same time. The figures are representative for the rest of the U.A.E.. – The National – Read more:


Abu Dhabi International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition to organise 9th Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest 2014

posted on 22/07/2014

Abu Dhabi International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition, yesterday announced that it will organise the ‘9th Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest' scheduled to be held during (ADIHEX 2014). The exhibition will take place from September 10th -13th September 2014 in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and will be open from 11 am to 10 pm daily.

Hamad Al Ghanem, Head of Committee for Arabian Saluki Beauty Contests & Traditional Races, Breeder & Registrar General Saluki of Arabia, said, "I am pleased to organise the 9th Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest. Following the astounding success of the previous editions, the contest is now established as a regional get-together for Saluki lovers and owners from all over the U.A.E. as well as other GCC countries. Approximately 100 Saluki owners have registered their hounds to participate in the past years.

He added that The Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest gives Saluki owners an opportunity to showcase their precious hounds – both smooth and feathered – on an international show level. The contest will be judged by International Show Judge: Cathy Smith from The Saluki Club of Australia.

All participating Salukis will be judged upon the characteristics of the standard of the breed (head; structure; general appearance; gait and movement; and overall impression). Unlike other dog shows, we do not only judge on the standards of the breed, but assess the Saluki's predominant purpose, i.e. is the hound used for hunting, chasing and guarding. Additionally, Salukis are judged on their mental condition, i.e. is the hound brave, dominant etc...

"We are pleases to announce a new addition to the contest which is a "Lure Coursing Show" which will take place on the September 13 from 1 pm to 5 pm. The lure coursing highlights the saluki's skills and capabilities in hunting. The winners and runners-up (first and second place) of each class will be eligible to enter their hounds in the Lure Coursing," Al Ghanem said.

Valuable prizes of cash money, medals, and trophies will be given to the winners of the following classes: Best in Show (first, second, third); Oldest in Show; Smooth and Feathered; light colour (white, sandy, red); dark colour (brown, grey, black). All participants will receive certificates for their participation.

Al Ghanem continued, "The show gives us the opportunity to highlight not only the incredible characteristics of the breed itself, but to further create public awareness in our proud Cultural Heritage, especially for the younger generations." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Abu Dhabi Summer Season from July 31

posted on 22/07/2014

Shows and performances of the Abu Dhabi Summer Season will resume at the end of Eid Al Fitr after a month-long break during Ramadan.

For the first time this year, Flash Entertainment and Emirates Palace joined Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) in putting together the annual summer festival at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

The concept and the name of the festival changed this year, with it predominantly being a series of shows and concerts taking place both at the Adnec and Emirates Palace, in addition to other locations in the emirate.

"2014 is set to witness one of the biggest and most diverse summer schedules of entertainment ever seen in the U.A.E.,” said John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment. "From comedy to illusion, live music to stage shows, there is truly something for everyone and we are immensely proud to be giving entertainment fans a world-class line-up to look forward to.”

The festival began on June 6 with the Royal Moscow Ballet performing Cinderella at the Adnec for 10 days and, after the Ramadan break, it will resume on July 31 with a Freej theatre show titled "Abood's Dream”.

Freej is one of the most popular Emirati cartoons, usually seen on TV during Ramadan, revolving around the hilarious antics of its main character, Abood.

According to Flash Entertainment representatives, the one-and-a-half hour theatrical show is created by Invent production company, using real, U.A.E.-based actors disguised in Freej character costumes.

Abood, his grandmother and her friends, Um Saeed, Um Saloom, Um Allawi and Um Khammas are all in the play.

"Abood's Dream” will be staged at Emirates Palace with several shows daily until August 2. Some shows will be in Arabic, and some in English. On August 7-8, the show will be in Madinat Zayed's Culture, Youth and Community Development, and on August 11-13 it will be performed at the Al Ain Municipality theatre.

Tickets for Emirates Palace shows cost anywhere between Dh100 and Dh 400, while in Madinat Zayed and Al Ain, they cost Dh75 each." – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=nationgeneral


GCAA launches ‘SAMAE’ mobile app

posted on 22/07/2014

The U.A.E. General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) launched its e-services mobile application "SAMAE” at its Dubai offices on Monday. The application offers 184 electronic services available for aviation stakeholders. The application is available on Apple IOS, Blackberry and Android app stores.

Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the GCAA, and Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of the GCAA, were present for the launch of the application. – Gulf News – Read more:


50 touch screens at 23 Dubai Metro stations

posted on 22/07/2014

The first interactive information screen was installed on Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa Metro station in Dubai about half-a-year ago. Today, 50 giant touch screens are spread over 23 Metro stations.

They are called ‘Smart Metro Information Kiosks' by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), big touch screens offering a wide array of life information to the Metro users.

The screen shows an interactive map of the Metro station sites, timetables and neighbourhood of the station, fare calculation, information about the Metro such as regulations, offences, types of NOL cards, and attitudes to be observed during the ride, a photo and film gallery, and a procedure to make complaints and suggestions.

When tapping the station of departure and the desired destination, the travel time and ticket fee depending on the Nol card selection will be presented on the screen, and the traveller can further plan out his route through bus routes, connections, landmarks and directions.

The application is currently bi-lingual, with the information available in English and Arabic. In the future, two other languages will be added, namely Chinese and Russian.

Among the key stations that have the smart information kiosks service are 16 stations on the Red Line; Rashidiya, Airport 1 & 3; Deira City Centre; Riqqa; Union; BurJuman; Karama; Emirates Towers; Financial Centre; Burj Khalifa; Mall of the Emirates; Dubai Internet City; Ibn Battuta; Jaflia; and the Dubai World Trade Centre; and seven stations on the Green Line; Duty Free Zone; Airport; Stadium; Abu Hail; Salah Uddin; Baniyas; Al Ghubaiba and Al Fahidi. – Emirates 24│7 – Read more:


Emirates Red Crescent donates Dh150 million for Gaza reconstruction

posted on 22/07/2014

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has signed an agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) whereby ERC provides Dh150 million for the reconstruction of Gaza Strip.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of ERC, who attended the signing of the agreement by Hamdan Musallam Al Mazroui, Chairman of the ERC, and Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in the Arab World, said the new agreement lays the foundations for a new phase of partnership between ERC and UNRWA.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed reiterated U.A.E.'s fundamental and historic commitment to standing for the Palestinian people and to supporting their humanitarian causes.

"The leadership and people of U.A.E. are following the very painful happenings in Gaza and are deeply grieved at them. The humanitarian suffering of Gazans is a major concern for the wise leadership who spared no effort to harness the resources and mobilise efforts to stand by their side and help them overcome this plight without reminding them of the favours done for them." H.H. Sheikh Hamdan explained that the project include the building and restoration of damaged houses, health, educational and services institutions in Gaza Strip as part of ERC's development efforts to alleviate the impact of the current events in Gaza and improve the life of Palestinians.

Gaza reconstruction, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed emphasised, is only one in a series of development projects being carried out by ERC in response to directives from the wise leadership and with the support of donors for the improvement of the humanitarian conditions of Palestinians, the fulfilment of their basic needs and providing dignified life for them.

"ERC has never been inattentive of the demands of the Palestinian refugees in the diaspora, in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in particular, and has maintained contact with them through its humanitarian and relief operations and projects. ERC has always maintained a strong presence in the efforts to provide favourable living conditions at refugee camps through the fulfilment of health, educational and social needs of the refugees and the bolstering of services at the camps." H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed added that ERC has had great interest in housing and services sectors which bear the brunt of damage and carried out large-scale projects throughout Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Sheikh Zayed District in Jerusalem, the reconstruction of Jenin Refugee Camp, Emirates Neighbourhood in Rafah, Sheikh Zayed City in Beit Lahia, Rafah Charity Hospital, and Sheikha Salam bint Butti Eye Hospital in Nablus are ambitious projects which would not have been completed without the noble initiatives of the U.A.E. wise leadership and the support of Emirati and expatriate donors and philanthropist.

On his part, Mr. Ford said ERC has become internationally renowned for its humanitarian work and is now a driver for other agencies. This is what made UNRWA bolster its partnership with ERC for the implementation of the projects that elevate the level of services for Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian Territories and in the diaspora. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Emirates Red Crescent supports wounded Gazans in Jerusalem

posted on 22/07/2014

JERUSALEM: A delegation from Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) Office in Ramallah, the West Bank, has visited wounded Gazan Palestinians in Jerusalem in order to express U.A.E's sympathy with them and offer them humanitarian support during their current crisis.

Sami Makkawi, Director of ERC's Office, said the visits to the Gazans recovering at al-Maqased Hospital, are being made on directives by the ERC Secretary-General, Mohamed Ateeq Al Falahi.

Makkawi added that Mr. Al Falahi also gave directives that ERC will cover the expenses of the treatment of the wounded at the said hospital.

Ahmed Al Teebi, Member of Knesset (United Arab List - Ta'al), who also visited the wounded Gazans, said, "U.A.E., under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and its humanitarian agencies, ERC in particular, are on the forefront of providing relief for the Palestinians at all times, and during the current events in Gaza Strip in particular." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Mohammed bin Rashid orders 114 metric tons of aid to Gaza

posted on 22/07/2014

Upon the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the cargo plane, Boeing 747, which was dispatched to Gaza carrying 114 metric tons of aid, landed at Marka International Airport in Amman early on Monday.

The gesture is in solidarity with the people of Gaza who live in the dire humanitarian conditions amid aggressions of the Israeli forces.

Following the directives of Sheikh Mohammed the Aid agencies have mobilised relief supplies from the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai to send them to thousands of displaced families in Gaza. The relief supplies have been put under the directive of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to distribute them to thousands of the displaced families in Gaza.

The organisations at the IHC have coordinated with Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) to get the relief supplies across to over 100, 000 displaced people there. The JHCO has been playing greater role in getting the relief supplies to Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the air bridge will continue to get sufficient relief supplies to Gaza, where they will be distributed to beneficiaries there by UNRWA.

UNRWA Commissioner General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, praised Sheikh Mohammed for support found by the UNRWA in Dubai and the U.A.E. in general, especially during this critical time. "We are pleased with this immediate response from Dubai and IHC employees. The Dubai airlift demonstrates effectiveness of a concerted humanitarian work." The IHC in record 24 hours has coordinated participation of the organisations, including The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN World Food Programme (WFP)/UN Humanitarian Response Depot), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Emirates Red Crescent in this humanitarian work. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment carrying out 38 Ramadan humanitarian projects in 35 countries

posted on 22/07/2014

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, on directives from Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is carrying 38 humanitarian projects in the U.A.E. and overseas to help the needy during the Holy Month of Ramadan, announced Ibrahim Bu Malha, Advisor to Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs, on Monday.

At a total value of more than Dh38.5 million, the establishment's Ramadan projects include the distribution of Zakat money, or alms, food rations and other aid in 35 countries in cooperation with their local charities and agencies, said Bu Malha, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, in a press briefing at the establishment's head office.

More than 27,000 families benefited from the Establishment's projects in the targeted countries which include 14 countries in Asia and 16 in Africa, in addition to U.S.A., Canada and Haiti.

In his remarks at the conference, the official commended U.A.E. Water Aid campaign, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on the first day of Ramadan, to raise donations for providing five million people worldwide with access to fresh drinking water through digging wells, providing water pumps and water purification equipment.

Bu Malha also noted that U.A.E. has marked Zayed Humanitarian Day and the 10th death anniversary of the nation's Founding Father and leading philanthropist, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on 19 Ramadan which corresponds to 17 July. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Emirates Red Crescent implements Iftar projects in al-Aqsa yards and Old City

posted on 22/07/2014

JERUSALEM: The Emirates Red Crescent office in Ramallah is distributing 500 Iftar meals everyday among fasting people at al-Aqsa Mosque yards in cooperation with Awqaf Department, Directorate of Jerusalem.

The Authority's Office has also overseen the distribution of 400 Iftar meals daily among the underprivileged families in the Old City of Jerusalem, including the distribution of dates and water.

Sami Makkawi, Head of Emirates Red Crescent office in the Ramallah said that the Authority has always been organising Iftar projects during the holy month of Ramadan, which has witnessed a growing turnout. The beneficiaries have extended thanks and appreciation to the U.A.E.'s charitable and humanitarian organisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Fashion exhibition supports water aid initiative

posted on 22/07/2014

Emirati designers have come together once again to host a charity fashion exhibition for a cause. The four-day ‘Designs for hope' exhibition, which was held at Dubai Ladies Club on July 15, raised Dh500,000 in support of the U.A.E. Water Aid initiative (U.A.E. Suqia).

The initiative was recently launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, with the aim of providing five million people in developing countries with improved access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

In its second edition, the exhibition featured collections from 16 Emirati fashion labels, where each designer donated several pieces that were sold for Dh1,000 regardless of their original value. All proceeds from the event will be given to the water aid initiative.

Last year's fashion exhibition raised Dh300,000 to help prevent and cure blindness for patients across the world from the sale of more than 300 abayas, jalabiyas and kaftans.

"The timing of the launch of this campaign has come at a crucial moment in the timeline of this cause. Currently, millions of people around the world are suffering from preventable misfortunes such as famine and drought, in third world nations,” said Mona Al Merri, Chairperson of Dubai Women Establishment and Vice-President of Dubai Ladies Club.

Designer Mariam Al Medfaei, who donated 20 items from her fashion store 1001 Abayas, told Gulf News that she is one of many designers who are keen about being involved in community service and charity events. Mariam, who is taking part in the exhibition for the second time, pointed out the huge impact of Shaikh Mohammad's charity initiatives and the importance of the community's support.

The U.A.E. Water Aid campaign has already received Dh140 million in donations, exceeding its Dh125 million target ahead of schedule. The campaign aimed to provide clean drinking water to five million people across 60 countries, and achieved 112 per cent of its target on the 17th day of its launch. Figures by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that more than 3.4 million die every year due to thirst and diseases caused by unclean water. The funds raised will help provide clean drinking water to 5.6 million people around the world. – Gulf News – Read more:


Rashid Al Dhaheri gets taste of 60cc karts in Italy

posted on 22/07/2014

With the holiday season in full swing, Rashid Al Dhaheri has been on an intensive karting adventure in Italy in what rates as the most comprehensive training programme ever embarked on by a young aspiring race driver from the U.A.E..

The Abu Dhabi school boy, fondly referred to as Little Alonso, participated in karting race weekends at Lonato, Siena and Ottobiano venues and also undertook an intensive training course held under the auspices by the Italian federation ACI CSAI in Naples. Here he got his first taste of more powerful 60cc karts. The races and training events were for drivers between 6 and 8 years of age, with Rashid, at six years and three months, invariably the youngest in the groups. But this did little to deter the youngster who impressed with every outing, and it is safe to say that he emerged from the experience a more complete and mature driver, that belies his young age. Although Italy is engulfed in summer the weather played a part in proceedings, with inevitable rainy days adding to the challenges faced by Al Dhaheri.

Nevertheless this was all part and parcel of the programme which also included racing in big field of over 30 young up-and-coming drivers, battling with rivals wheel-to-wheel, while learning the finer techniques of racing; such as rolling starts and the various flag rules that are part of the sport.

The recurring theme of Al Dhaheri's participation was his eagerness to learn, his ability to follow instructions and constantly running at the sharp end of the field in all the races he participated in.

Perhaps one of the most significant steps taken during the Italian summer campaign was his participation in the highly acclaimed and intensive karting training camp organised by the ACI CSAI Federal School at Napoli Sarno International Circuit, from July 7 to 10. – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=nationsports


Swimming superstars return to Dubai

posted on 22/07/2014

Organiser are expecting another thrilling event at the Hamdan Sports Complex here between August 31stand September 1st, with crowd favourites and overall winners of the 2013 Swimming World Cup, Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, expected to head the list of stars competing for World Cup glory.

Golden boy Le Clos, who is one of the most popular swimmers in the world, is in scintillating form.

He was crowned world champion in the 100m and 200m butterfly at the Fina World Championship in Barcelona last year before taking the overall World Cup title for a second time. Le Clos has also twice claimed gold at the World Championships (25m) — in 2010 and 2012 respectively — and became a household name worldwide two years ago after just pipping Michael Phelps to 200m butterfly gold at the London Olympics.

Hosszu proved herself to be one of the most exciting — and toughest — competitors even seen in the pool during last year's Swimming World Cup, when she won an outstanding 32 events over the series, completely dominating the 200m and 400m individual medley (IM) events and setting six new world records. – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=nationsports